Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October Newsletter

Dear AOS Students, Families, and Friends,

October is here, and once again, we are amazed to see the start of this new month! With the temperatures slowly starting to get cooler and the evidence of Pumpkin spice everywhere we look, Fall has truly arrived. It's been a busy first month of the Fall semester here at Academy of Sound, which we are excited to share! Some of the highlights as well as news items are below.

Meet Jackson King!

We're so excited to welcome Jackson onto our faculty at Academy of Sound. Jackson begins teaching drums this month!

Here's some information about Jackson!

Jackson has been playing drums since 2012, in styles like jazz, rock, funk, and metal. He is also skilled in rudimentary drumming, marching percussion, and other miscellaneous percussion. Jackson has experience teaching in both a large group setting and in private lessons. Jackson studies at Oregon High School, and will graduate in 2019. His drumming experiences are many, and include almost a decade with Shadow Drum & Bugle Corps under the direction of Nick Lane, as well as Oregon High School Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Orchestra, and School of Rock. Jackson joined the Academy of Sound faculty in 2018

It's not too late to enroll!

September is always a busier month than we anticipate it will be, right? Even if you didn't get a chance to enroll in lessons in August, there are still some openings. Check them out here. 

One-stop Music shop!:

Do you need a new bow, rosin, staff paper, or music book for lessons? Stop at the front desk before or after your lesson to order! We are placing several orders throughout the week, and can often get what you need in just 2 business days!

Get a referral credit for new students:

We offer a $25 credit per new student that you or your family refers. Make sure the student notes that you are the one referring them when they register. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask our front desk staff!

Sonatina Festival:

Sonatina Festival is only one month away. If you are planning to participate or interested in learning more about it, ask your teacher in this week's lesson! Remember, Sonatina Festival is not limited to just piano students- other instruments can participate too!

Mark Your Calendars:

Our first holiday break of the school year is next month (Nov. 20-23rd.) The holiday recital will be Sunday, December 16th at 4pm. Stay up to date on these and all other dates by adding the AOS calendar dates to your personal calendar. Access our calendar here.

Teacher Tips: Practicing with Nancy Cox

Nancy is a longtime member of our staff, and has produced many excellent students during her tenure here. This month, she shares some of her favorite practicing tips for success!

1. When practicing, analyzing, memorizing, or woodshedding a piece (piano is my area) with a student, start from the back of the piece and move by adding shorter sections towards the front, gradually increasing the playback until the student is performing the entire piece with corrections.  This works because our brains learn on several tracks when going through a piece backwards by sections, then forwards.  Good tip for vocal students too.

2.  When making practice recommendation to a student, it is good to recommend the number of times a student should play through a piece each practice session, also the number of practice sessions per week desired, and the length of practice sessions.  It is good to have students monitor, record, or self track their practice sessions in writing or on phones etc.  I give younger students stickers or stars per days of practice.  Older students can learn to connect the learning/progress rate with the amount of time practiced.

3.  Remember the 8000 hours minimum recommended by successful rock stars for students with performance ambitions.  (Question:  What is the single most important factor that allows someone to become a musical (rock) star?  Answer:  Not a good agent.  Instead, 8,000 hours minimum of practice (figure it out).)

4.  Remember everyone puts in their frustrating times at the keyboard or in practice.  Sometimes breakthroughs come after several practice sessions, or even several weeks of practice sessions.  The key is to keep working on improving your performance, while learning to listen critically to yourself.

5. I try to ask my students after each piece played, What do you think?  Could this have been performed better?  What would make it better?  What do you think you need to work on when practicing this piece?  Some students have trouble "hearing" their performance errors or omissions.  I try to get them to focus on what they are presenting each time they perform, then to work on improvements.  It is always helpful to start out a critique with something that the student did well, or showed improvement on.

6.  Finally, it is always good to encourage students, but to balance expectations with realistic observations.  Students may not reach their potential if you don't have high enough expectations.  But also, I believe music as a life enhancement skill or experience is all about discovering the joy of creating your own project that you can improve and change as you are able.   That's all for now- Keep practicing is my motto!

That's all for now! See you in November!